Weddings

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Creative ways to make a memorable wedding entrance

Once wedding vows and rings have been exchanged, many couples join their friends and family to celebrate with a wedding reception. Many brides and grooms eagerly await the moment when they can make their grand entrance to the reception, and over the years it has become customary for couples to make a bit of a splash when making their first appearance as husband and wife. Some enter with a special song. Others prefer something a bit more theatrical. Explore these ideas for memorable wedding reception entrances.

• Catch guests by surprise. Wedding guests will probably expect the wedding party to enter through a certain door and the bride and groom to follow afterward. An element of surprise, such as the couple rising from the floor or appearing from a different area in the reception hall, may not require a lot of planning but can have a dramatic effect. Unpredictable entrances also include unexpected song choices or dramatic lighting to immediately draw everyone's attention.

• Stick to one or two songs. Some couples think it might be fun to have each member of the wedding party enter with a different song. Not only will this take a lot of coordination on the part of the deejay, but it can make the entrance choppy as well. Introductions may go more smoothly if couples have the entire wedding party enter to a particular song that revs up the crowd and gets them excited for the grand entrance. At the height of the song, the bride and groom will enter. The entrance typically segues into a couple's first dance.

• Go with people's strengths. A couple may want to showcase special skills as they enter the reception hall. There's no limit to what couples can do, from acrobatic techniques to tap dancing to juggling. If it's entertaining, it very well may prove memorable.

• Make sure everyone is on board. Couples should recognize that some members of the wedding party may be uncomfortable acting like clowns in front of a crowd. Do not force anyone to participate in crazy antics if they do not want to. Find things each member of a wedding party feels comfortable doing. Couples may want their bridal party members to enter in a more traditional way before the newlyweds do something more dramatic and humorous.

• Include the entrance in your planning. If you want to follow a certain theme, such as "Star Wars" or "Mission Impossible," coordinate in advance with a deejay or band members. Talk about what, if any, props you plan to use and the type of music that will be playing. If entrances involve choreography, be certain to practice in advance of the wedding so everything will work out well and look professional. However, even stunts that go awry can be entertaining and funny for guests.

• Low-key entrances are acceptable, too. Couples who aren't into much fanfare should not feel pressured to make an entrance with a dance routine or to have any stunning visual effects. If you want a low-key introduction, arrange for such an entrance with the emcee.

Wedding entrances are what a couple makes of them, and they can run the gamut from traditional introductions to theatrical skits and dance routines.